Why I'm a Little Uneasy about this Whole Michael Phelps Thing
Yes, I've been watching the Beijing Games, even though the Chinese should be totally ashamed of themselves for:
1) Enabling Omar al-Bashir in Sudan.
2) Telling a 7-year-old girl she wasn't cute enough to be seen on TV. (See photo. The too-ugly one is on the left. Obviously.)
3) Killing Tibetan monks.
4) A wide swath of human rights violations.
5) Et cetera.
And to be sure, the games have been incredible, if not as juiced as the McGwire/Sosa home-run chase. (I mean, c'mon, that pool alone is shooting out world records like a rigged slot machine at Sam's Town casino). But is anybody else worried about the whole merging of sports and science and the inherent physical manipulation therein?
Check out this nugget from Sports Illustrated's piece on Michael Phelps' dominance to date.
For Phelps, with his 17 races, recovery is key. Exertion creates lactic acid, the athletic equivalent of kryptonite, and there are perfectly legal ways to minimize its residency in the body. Longer warm-downs, for one. Three minutes after Phelps's race, or theoretically when lactic acid production is at its highest, someone will prick his ear with a needle and that blood will be measured to see how many millimoles of muscular waste must be cleared from his system. Phelps will then swim easily until the readings drop to an acceptable level.
"We're mapping him all the way," Skinner says. "With so many races, we really want to stay on top of things to make sure he's staying on track and not getting too fatigued."
Ah, maybe I'm just being a bit too sensitive here. I mean, after all, Rocky still beat Drago even though "Death from Above" had all those fancy machines while Rock chopped wood in Siberia.
Just seems as if the innocence of competition is long dead if we've reached an era where we can measure "millimoles of molecular waste."
In any event, good luck Phelps, even if you're from the Syphilis Capital of the Universe, you're alright in my book.